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Welch v. Kosasky

Massachusetts Court of Appeals
509 N.E.2d 919 (1987)


Facts

In 1974, the Welches (plaintiffs) had 12 lots of silver antiques stolen from their home. The lots ended up in a pawn shop, and Kosasky (defendant) bought some of the silver and sold it to an antiques dealer. The dealer recommended, and Kosasky agreed, that one of the lots, a set of castors, should be altered to restore it to what the dealer believed was its original condition. The alterations were carried out, and the castors were put up for sale. In 1981, Mrs. Welch saw some of her stolen goods for sale in the window of a Boston antiques dealer. By 1982, the Welches were able to track down and recover all of their stolen silver. The Welches sued Kosasky for conversion of the silver and for damages due to the alteration of the castors. At trial it was established that the Welches had purchased the castors for $7,500 in 1971. An expert witness for the Welches testified that the castors, if unaltered, would have been worth at least $25,000 in 1984. The witness testified that the castors, as altered, were worth $3,000. The trial court held that Kosasky knew or should have known that the pawn shop dealt in stolen goods. The trial court awarded $10,000 in damages for the Welches’ loss of the use of silver for the 8-year period in which they were stolen; $22,000 in damages for the decrease in the value of the castors due to the alterations (i.e., $25,000 - $3,000); and $5,000 in consequential damages for costs incurred in finding and recovering all 12 lots. Kosasky appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Armstrong, J.)

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